(Updaaed 13th June) An important inscribed bronze direction plate, valued in excess of £8,000, has been removed from within the confines of a listed national monument at Beinn a’ Gudairean, a summit in the Isle of Colonsay.
The plate was commissioned in the winter of 1936, and was designed by James Macaulay, the Glasgow-based town planner who also designed the indicator for Craigs Top at Greenock.
It was unveiled in 1938, and included a pointer to the ‘Irish Free State’ (which term had been obsolete since 1st July 1937).
The plate was mounted upon a special cairn, within the curtilage of an ancient look-out post, itself a listed monument.
The plate and its wooden ‘nest’ were restored at the millennium, by Colonsay resident, the late Finlay MacFadyen.
The plate is irreplaceable, but in view of its distinguished provenance its intrinsic value is considerably in excess of eight thousand pounds.
Its removal, coupled with the disturbance to a listed national monument, has been notified to the police.
It is a very distinctive item, and the people of Colonsay appeal to anyone with information to get in touch. Confidential information can be sent:
- by post to: Colonsay Plate, Argyll PA61 7YW;
- by telephone to 01951 200320
- by email to email@example.com
The plate itself can be returned by leaving it at any church, police station or recognised yacht club, clearly labelled ‘Please contact 01951 200320 to arrange safe return to Colonsay’.
The plate is about thirty inches in diameter. A good photograph is being sought but, in the meantime, the plate can be seen in the foreground of the picture below, taken on 4th August 2011.
Islanders know that the plate has been taken at some time between the date of this photograph, 4th August 2011 and 9th April 2012. Theyare working to narrow that date window.
The police are taking an interest in the matter but the islanders will settle simply for getting it back.
Robbing an island culture of an object like this is scavenging its vital organs. Folk can behave badly on an instant, as the taking of this plate may exemplify. Redeeming such a situation is hard – but the suggestion of leaving the plate packaged and notified as indicated, in a church, police station or established yacht club is an enabling one.
Update – Editor’s note 13th June: The photograph above is a photoshopped version by Nick Bowles which has removed from the original the presence of the child standing on top of the cairn – in order to focus attention on the missing pate itself.